Juneteenth Celebration 2022

“We have no right to give up; We have no right to give in...”

        –Senator Raphael Warnock

Dear Colleagues:                                          

I write on behalf of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Committee of the Department of Neurology to acknowledge the annual celebration of Juneteenth. 

This day is also referred to as Celebration Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day.

Although this is a day of celebration, it is not a day without remembrance of the immense suffering and lives lost in slavery, and its enduring legacy—racism.

As Fredrick Douglass noted of the rule of law in our great nation, “Every page is red with the blood of the American slave.”

President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863, Proclamation 95. On June 19, 1865, at the end of the Civil War, General Granger of the Union Army at the headquarters of the District of Texas in Galveston read General Orders, Number 3:

“The People of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” And from that time forward and continuing, it is a long march to the equality granted in the Emancipation Proclamation. The state of Texas recognized Juneteenth as a holiday in 1980.

June is also PRIDE month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

There are many celebratory online and in-person events this weekend and throughout this month for Juneteenth and for PRIDE, designed to inform, elevate, and ignite or rekindle a passion for justice and equity. Please look at the Columbia University Events website or the Columbia School of Professional Studies calendar of events for June. Select at least one to attend or a reading of interest. Options include:

  • Department of Pediatrics (Marina Catallozzi)
    Grand Rounds
    June 17th from 8:00–9:00 AM
    Honoring Juneteenth: Unraveling Spatialized Psychologies of Inequity, Miriam Neptune & April DeSimone

    Grand Rounds Zoom Webinar
  • School of Nursing (Vivian Taylor)
    Dramatic Performance: The In Between of Fullness, by Peoples Theater Project
    June 21st from 11:30 AM–1:30 PM
    Join us for a celebration of Juneteenth, a performance by Peoples Theater Project, a New York City-based touring company comprised entirely of immigrant artists of color.

    RSVP: https://events.columbia.edu/go/Juneteenth
  • CUIMC Office of Faculty Professional Development, Diversity, and Inclusion (Clara Lapiner) LGBTQ+ Lecture Series with Admiral Rachel Levine
    June 23rd from 4:00–5:15 PM

    Rachel L. Levine, MD
    Admiral, US Public Health Service
    US Department of Health and Human Services
    RSVP: https://columbiacuimc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_486gFZ44RIy9mp6oOTlAhA
  • Columbia Pride, the LBGTQ+ alumni group sponsored by the Columbia Alumni Association
    2022 NYC Pride March
    June 26th from 2:00–6:00 PM

    All LGBTQ+ alumni, students, staff, faculty, administrators, and allies of Columbia University's nineteen schools are invited to march with us during the 2022 NYC Pride March after a two-year hiatus. Registration is limited to 100 participants.
    For more info: https://pride.alumni.columbia.edu/nyc_pride_march_22

The opening quotation is the response of Senator Raphael Warnock to a question by Lawrence O’Donnell about the impact of the January 6 insurrection on his ability to move forward as a newly elected Senator, installed January 5. Senator Warnock stated he was thinking of the sacrifices his mother and so many others made for progress and noted that (my insert: no matter the obstacle or the ferocity of the backlash), “We have no right to give up; We have no right to give in” (my inference: moving forward.)

Best regards,

Carolyn Barley Britton, MD, MS
Chair, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee
Department of Neurology